The Future Of Electric Vehicles For RV Enthusiasts

There are now a variety of electric vehicles that can tow between 1,500 and 11,000 pounds.

Can you pull an RV with an electric vehicle?

Although Teslas are mushrooming these days, and electric vehicles are slowly gaining traction on the roads of the United States, we still have a long way to go to reach our goal of carbon neutrality. Reuters claims that not even one percent of the vehicles on our roads are electric.

Several concerns make consumers wary of buying electric vehicles, such as high prices and difficulty charging. However, RV enthusiasts have their own specific questions. Are electric cars and trucks powerful enough to tow campers? And if so, for how long?

Newer models with higher towing capacity and longer ranges finally make the combination of electric car and camper possible!

The time is now! By 2022, more electric pickups will hit the market than we could have ever imagined. And these pickups can haul some serious weight. Big names like Ford, Hummer and Chevrolet have all launched electric-powered trucks. Startups like Alpha and Atlis claim they will soon follow suit.

Even more surprising is that electric trucks with towing capacity aren’t the only options. There are other towable options, like the “world’s first electric adventure vehicle,” Rivian’s R1S. Even smaller are options like the Tesla Model X or the Volvo XC40.

The dashboard of an electric vehicle shows how much battery capacity is left.
It’s hard to say what impact towing has on battery range, but some estimates suggest it drops by about 50 percent.

How is range affected when towing?

Perhaps what scares people the most is the impact that towing can have on electric car range. This is not unique to electric cars. Gas-powered vehicles also lose fuel efficiency when towing extra weight. According to It Still Runs, gas mileage can drop anywhere from 10% to 35% depending on the weight of the trailer.

The same is true for electric vehicles. The problem is that it is much easier to fill up with gasoline than to find a charging station. Since electric traction vehicles are still relatively new, there is not much information on how weight affects range.

Inside EVs recently reported that an F-150 Lightning owner shared some details about towing a 6,000-pound Airstream trailer and its impact on his vehicle’s range. He spoke of a reduction in range of about 50%. The good news, however, is that the Lightning’s computer takes the weight of the trailer into account and automatically calculates the correct battery capacity, so you’re not left in the dark.

Rivian also advises its customers up front that battery range is reduced by about 50% when towing a weight of about 11,000 pounds, which is the maximum capacity of the R1T. This vehicle also updates the actual range in real time, taking into account weight and even the speed at which you accelerate.

A caravan in an idyllic forest setting.
The towing capacity of electric cars has increased, and many models can now pull travel trailers.

What about towing capacity for electric vehicles?

The average large travel trailer weighs between 6,000 and 10,500 pounds. So can electric vehicles tow that much weight?

The new electric trucks on the market can! The Chevrolet Silverado EV and Ford F-150 Lightning can tow up to 10,000 pounds, which covers most travel trailers. The Rivian R1T is rated for up to 11,000 pounds. Smaller RVs pair well with the Rivian R1S or Hummer EV, which can tow around 7,500 pounds.

If you have something smaller, such as a teardrop, A-frame camper, or pop-up camper, you may be able to get by with a smaller electric vehicle. The Tesla Model Y and X can tow 3,500 and 5,000 pounds, respectively. The Volvo XC 40 Recharge has a towing capacity of 3,300 pounds, and the VW ID.4 can tow 2,700 pounds. If you decide to buy a hybrid, there are even more models that can tow between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds.

Are all-electric RVs next?

Those who prefer a motorhome to a towable RV won’t be left out much longer. Winnebago unveiled its electric motorhome concept at an RV show in early 2022. In June, Winnebago announced that members of the ATG team had completed a 1,380-mile road trip in the all-electric RV. The company is now working to increase the RV’s range before it goes on sale to increase the number of early adopters.

Winnebago is not alone either. Just one day after announcing their concept, Thor Industries has followed suit. According to reports, the Thor Vision concept will be able to travel 300 miles on one charge and includes:

  • Battery pack
  • Solar roof
  • Other emission free features

As battery technology continues to evolve, we hope to see more electric options for RVs.

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